Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Carlsen-Karjakin game 9: draw (4.0-5.0)

As we draw closer to the conclusion of the match, things have really heated up!

With his back against the wall, Carlsen is NOT going quietly.

In what appeared to be a very classic, very vanilla Ruy Lopez, Carlsen, with the black pieces, sacrificed a pawn in the opening for initiative, rapid development, and a quite threatening attack. By move 17, Karjakin's king was open and exposed, and Carlsen was lining up the big guns.

Moves 20 through 40 were, frankly, as exciting as chess ever gets, with the advantage see-sawing back and forth, pieces en prise all around, sacrifices, advanced passed pawns, each player's king being chased around the board, both barely avoiding disaster...

Then suddenly, just after both players had made the 40-move time control, all the pieces were suddenly off the board, leaving each player with just Queen and Bishop.

Karjakin had an extra pawn, but it was doubled, and Carlsen's pawns were connected, while Karjakin's were not.

Karjakin pressed hard, hard, hard for 30 more moves, but Carlsen was equally tenacious, and there was no breakthrough to be found by either player.

I'm really looking forward to the final three games. The match may have started slowly, but once blood was drawn, it's been as vibrant and vivid as I could have possibly hoped for.

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